The losers to the slippery slope of crude

Jim Cramer would love to hand out a list to investors and tell them what stocks will escape the slippery slope of oil prices.

Unfortunately, that's just not possible. Just as oil has been crushed in a matter of a few months, so has the upside in the oil patch. The downside, however, has spread like a virus.

Instead, Cramer has categorized that downside and points out the biggest losers to oil. He broke them into four categories: The early losers, the ancillary plays, junk bonds, and companies you can't see.

The early losers were easy to spot from the beginning:

It includes companies that bought property and are required to drill the land by lease obligation using $100 oil valuations. Early losers also claimed companies that needed oil to keep going higher so that their drilling budget could stay robust. And let's not forget the companies that spent more than their cash flow on drilling.

A Boeing ground test crew member examines a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
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A Boeing ground test crew member examines a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

"Have they bottomed? I think you have to do a case-by-case analysis. If you own a stock that is higher than it was when oil was last at $60 and has a stretched balance sheet, I think that stock is still going lower," Cramer warned.

Watch out for the companies defaulting on loans or high priced bonds, as it will kill their stocks. Even if there are a few bargains still floating around, when oil goes down, these stocks go down, too.

The next category is the ancillary plays. They are not quite as easy to pick out, but they fall into three categories: Oil company creditors, companies that need oil prices to go higher so their business can do better, and geographic consumer plays tied to the 16 oil-producing states.

In Cramer's opinion, we don't yet know who the crediting banks are or their level of exposure. But what he does know is that banks pretty much trade together. So, if you are looking for a stock with less potential to be hurt by low energy prices, they may not be cheaper than the rest of the group. Why bother?

Then there are the junk bonds. Cramer estimates 16 percent, or about $210 billion worth, could be at risk. To really know which junk bonds are at risk, you would have to go through each one individually. Often it is hard to determine what the bonds own, which makes it difficult. Plus, they may not be worth the effort if rates are going up in 2015.

"I can and will make a sweeping judgment that given the paltry return of these funds anyway, they aren't worth the risk and you should sell them," Cramer said.

The last category—and toughest of all—are the companies that you don't think have exposure to declining oil, but do. First, are the airlines. Yes, the airlines have been doing well, and Cramer has been promoting them, but the main reason they have been doing well is because of low oil.

The "Mad Money" hosts warned investors to keep their eyes open for start-ups that could use cheaper and older competing airplanes to compete with the new companies. The older aircrafts use more fuel, but that won't be as much of a concern when oil is so cheap.

Or how about Boeing? Oil could potentially get so low that fuel efficient planes are no longer necessary.

Finally, there is some good news on the non-oil service companies that cater to the oil producing states. Other than Conn's, there are very few companies that are just focused on the oil producing areas. Most have a national focus, so there's no need to sweat it.

So, while Cramer would love to hand out a list of companies to buy during the crude slide, it is just not that simple.

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"If you try to call bottom in any of the stocks in these categories, you're trying to be a hero, and in the stock market, heroes tend to be annihilated."

He adds, it's safe to say that all you really need to know is that if the stock goes down when oil goes down, it's going to keep going lower.

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